LETTER: Humanist association is hypocritical

All religions must have equal rights to give out material

Re: Gideon Bibles offered in schools

Sadly, I find the BC Humanist Association’s position to be rather hypocritical. They argue, “it is unconstitutional and in violation of the BC School Act”, but if that’s true, that is a serious accusation and should be taken to the Supreme Court of Canada, and must cease without any qualifications.

Instea, they say, at least just allow us to distribute our own atheist literature. Which is it, unconstitutional or something you’re happy to accept and work with?

As an ardent defender of pluralist secularism co-existing with religious liberties and appreciation of our diverse spiritual traditions, I dare say it is a gross exaggeration to call the free gifts of Bibles (the Book which Western civilization is affected by and based on more than all others) to those who must have parental consent to receiving it in the first place, an abuse or even a push of religion on to anyone.

Perhaps this was once in decades past, but religion is not being taught by the schools, who maintain neutrality on the topic – it’s a non-profit providing educational and spiritual literature to a society increasingly uneducated and ignorant of our own cultural history, let alone comparative religions.

In my UBC course in classical Hebrew (a secular course with a Jewish professor), the Gideons came and gave our class free Torahs which we were all very grateful for. Islamic societies likewise distributed Qurans on campus, with many thanks.

Of course, other and all religions must have equal rights to give material that is approved as relevant to learning about religion/atheism if that is ever readily available. I would expect most Christians to welcome the opportunity as well.

If the Abbotsford School District is discriminating against other traditions who wish to share appropriate literature to students, I would like to speak up against that, but where’s the evidence? I am interested to see how they respond regarding the comic book, and sincerely hope it can be freely distributed with parental consent as well.

Nathan Loewen